All Creatures Great And Small

All Creatures Great And Small (1974)
Anchor Bay Entertainment
Cast: Simon Ward, Anthony Hopkins
Extras: Theatrical Trailer

WARNING! Before watching ’All Creatures Great and Small’, DO NOT watch the trailer which is included on the DVD. This trailer, the only extra on the DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment, is three and a half minutes long and gives away most of the plot points in the movie! So, if you aren’t familiar with ’All Creatures Great and Small’, or you haven’t seen the film in a long time, avoid the trailer until after you’ve watched the movie. Now, with that warning out of the way, ’All Creatures Great and Small’ is an adaptation of the autobiography of James Herriot. The film is set in Yorkshire, England in 1937, where a young Herriot (Simon Ward) has come to town to work as a veterinary assistant to Siegfried Farnon (Anthony Hopkins). Herriot soon learns that his education hasn’t prepared him for the real world. Farnon is a terrible role model and the locals don’t trust the newcomer. Herriot must work hard to prove that he is a good vet, while at the same time deal with a romantic interest.

’All Creatures Great and Small’ is a moving work, that offers an honest view of human nature, without being too cynical. The film offers a very sly moral concerning the fact that sometimes it can be easier to get along with animals than with people. Simon Ward is very good in the lead role, giving a performance that demands him to show a wide range of emotions. Anthony Hopkins is delightful as the misguided Farnon. Considering all of the intense roles we’ve seen Hopkins in lately, it was nice to see him playing a country vet who gives bad advice.

Anchor Bay Entertainment has done us the honor of bringing this British production to the U.S. The DVD features the film in a full-frame format. The image is very sharp, being free of grain and noise for the most part. This clear picture shows no problems with compression or artifacting. Also, there are very few obvious defects from the source print. The audio on the DVD is a Dolby Digital Stereo. This offers some distinction in the front channels, but the majority of dialogue, sound effects, and music are still concentrated in the center channel. Nonetheless, the sound is very clean and the dialogue intelligible. As mentioned above, the all-encompassing trailer is the lone extra on the DVD.